Need Help with Physical Health

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

I have very painful periods with cramps that are so severe 800 milligrams of ibuprofen does not help, I also have very painful gas, and constipation with occasional diarrhea because I also have IBS. The IBS on its own is not bad at all however when my period comes it intensifies and becomes unbearable. Doctors have recently suggested Endometriosis as a cause which worries me because there is a possibility of infertility. My doctor suggested Birth Control without the placebo thus skipping my period and the pain. However I hate being on birth control. The mood swings and depression was too much for me the last three times I tried. My question is, is there any other solution to help relieve my symptoms or give me a diagnosis with out surgery?

A: This sounds miserable. I’m not a physician so my best advice to you is to ask your doctor for further tests. Have you have explored the possibility that you have celiac disease (reaction to gluten) or lactose intolerance – or both? Sometimes the symptoms you describe are caused by food allergies. At least look into it. I do know people who say that going on a gluten-free diet has changed their life.

I hope you are working with an OB/GYN about your menstrual pain. I did a little research for you. It’s usual to prescribe hormones as a treatment. But since you have such negative side effects, you might ask your doctor to consider other tests to determine if you in fact have endometriosis. An ultrasound exam, for example, may help make a diagnosis. If your gynecologist does think endometriosis is a strong possibility, you may be advised to have a minor surgical procedure called laparoscopy. Laparoscopy surgery is minimally invasive and usually is done outpatient.

Not every woman who has endometriosis has problems with fertility. (In fact, endometriosis is a fairly common health problem in women.) It depends on the stage and location of adhesions. If you do have a diagnosis, you’ll want to talk to your doctor about whether fertility is an issue for you and if so, what you can do about it.

The way I see it, it’s better to know than not. If we know what a problem is, we can work on solving it. When we don’t know, our worries and our imaginations can make things much worse than they are.

The pain and inconvenience of your symptoms must be getting in the way of your life. I hope you’ll put time and energy into getting a diagnosis and treatment.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 2 Jun 2012

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2012). Need Help with Physical Health. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 24, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/06/02/need-help-with-physical-health/